Imagine a mobile phone system where any two phones form their own "network" as soon as they are switched-on and within range of one another. Such a system would eliminate the need for a carrier and large mobile network; Replacing it with a shared grass-roots public network that allowed for private phone calls.
As reported on the BBC News, such a system has already been developed out of Sweden by a company called TerraNet AB!
The technology is designed for remote areas where wireless base stations are not practical. It is being used in Lund, Sweden where it was developed and projects are underway in Ecuador and Tanzania.
How it works
Each wireless unit instantly communicates with other units within a range of up to 2000 metres - without the need for a base station. Calling and texting are free between the units, with all units acting as nodes and carrying traffic between other units in the cluster. A call hops from one unit to the next until it reaches the destination, up to seven units away. The cluster of TerraNet wireless units creates an organic communication mesh that spans a large area, be it a university campus, a rural village, a company site or a disaster zone.
A TerraNet access point can be established wherever a computer with Internet access is available. Simply insert a TerraNet USB dongle. At least one TerraNet unit must be within a range of up to 2000 metres. The unit communicates with the access point and with other TerraNet units in the cluster. This way, any user in the cluster can set up free VoIP calls via the Internet to users in other TerraNet clusters, and via low cost VoIP dial-out services to fixed line phones and mobile phones anywhere in the world.
CEO Anders Carlius seems to enjoy the implications of disrupting the mobile telephony business model. From the company's site is the following:
Traditional operators are charging for landline and mobile phone calls like a taxicab - by the minute and by distance. With the arrival of flat rate or zero-rate communication solutions, including VoIP initiatives like Skype, the taxicab business model is no more. To eliminate the cost between the endpoints, you need to minimise the network infrastructure, the base stations, the antenna installations and the telephony servers. With the TerraNet Wireless Technology, the users deploy their own network.
If the calls sound good, it Sounds real good to me!